The combined wealth of Nigeria’s five richest persons, estimated to be about $29.9 billion, can end extreme poverty in the country, a report by Oxfam International has stated. The Oxfam report was titled ‘Inequality in Nigeria, Exploring the Drivers.’
Forbes magazine lists the five richest Nigerians as Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, Folorunsho Alakija and Theophilus Danjuma.
The Oxfam report exposed the large and growing gap between the rich and poor in Nigeria.
It also revealed that the benefits of the nation’s economic growth had been captured by a few wealthy elite at the expense of the ordinary Nigerians.
According to the report, the economic inequality is a key factor in the conflict in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.
Oxfam International also disclosed that Nigeria’s richest man, Mr. Dangote, earned 8,000 times more in one day than a poor Nigerian would spend on basic needs in a year.
Mr. Dangote is also the richest African with a net worth of $12.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Born into a wealthy business family, Mr. Dangote’s business focus includes industries (cement, sugar, flour and so on) as well as oil and gas.
The second richest man, Mike Adenuga, has major business interests in oil and gas as well as telecoms. He is the owner of Globacom, Nigeria’s largest indigenous telecom operator and has a net worth of $10.5 billion.
The third richest person is Femi Otedola, the CEO of Zenon Oil and Gas and Forte Oil whose net worth is $2.3 billion. He is closely followed by the richest woman, Folorunsho Alakija, a business tycoon who is into fashion, oil and printing industries. With an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, she is believed to have made her billions though oil block deals.
The fifth richest person is Theophilus Danjuma, a former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff. He is the founder/chairman of Atlantic Petroleum and has an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion.
According to the latest poverty report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, about 112 million Nigerians (representing 67.1 per cent of the country’s total population of 167 million) live below poverty level; although lower than that are in extreme poverty.
The bureau also predicted this rising trend was likely to continue.
Absolute poverty is measured by the number of people who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food and clothing.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer but the sector has been tainted by accusations of corruption.
The Oxfam report also said public office holders stole estimated $20 trillion from the treasury between 1960 and 2005, while multinational companies receive tax incentives estimated at $2.9 billion a year.